I had an exciting invitation recently; the British Library asked permission to archive my website. Well, who wouldn’t jump at that? I replied with indecent haste. We all want maximum readership for anything we write, worried about our ephemera being lost in the ether. Whenever I give a talk the most FA’d Q is always ‘How will biographers of the future manage without old fashioned letters?’ Admittedly this is not preserving my letters and emails (phew!) But from now on not only will all of you today and for the next week or so read my words but so will future generations. These words which I am typing at haste, imagining no one will ever again see them, will I know now, be preserved in the bowels of the British Library. Or, as the request from the unnamed archivist describes it in its own funny language. ‘We will crawl over your website as soon as we can.’ So my website may not be available to view in the public archive for some time as they archive many thousands of websites and perform quality assurance checks on each instance.
So I cannot claim exclusivity. I am one of almost ten thousand! New sites are added every day and the Web Archiving Programme actively solicits the public to nominate other websites that may be suitable http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/info/nominate
The current archive can be viewed at the above site where you will see the enormous variety of websites are preserved …from to Alistair Campbell’s fruity blog to AL Kennedy’s all singing, all dancing site listing her books or her shows as well as the sites of many industrial or commercial airfields in Yorkshire to cyber-geography research projects and South Bradford Methodist church. Do not despair all ye doubters that biographies will never be written in the future, I can hear them proclaiming. As if that weren’t enough to persuade you all that there will still be words to provide content for future books, last week I had the pleasure of being a guest on the wonderful Radio Gorgeous currently housed in an office block in Hammersmith. The host is Josephine Pembroke who after a generous half hour interview told me her plan is to build up an archive of women’s voices women talking about their books, the arts, fashion life or – the day I was there – an astrologer was my fellow guest, and keep them all in that library in the sky as cloudcasts. To learn more. http://www.mixcloud.com/about